With 1.5 million likes on Facebook and nearly 900k Instagram followers, Farfetch is a force on social and favorite of Instagram fashion influencers. The London-based online retail platform features more than 200,000 individual products — and its marketing team is on the forefront of using data-driven innovations to revolutionize how luxury clothing is purchased and sold online.
In a webinar, I sat down with Farfetch’s Global Brand Manager Emily Auchincloss and Brand Executive Arabella Brooks to learn how Farfetch built its large social following, partners with Instagram fashion influencers and makes user-generated content shoppable. Below are some highlights of our 30-minute Q&A. Listen to the entire conversation here.
How did you build up such a large and loyal social following?
Emily Auchincloss: High-quality, authentic content is really key for everything we do. We’re constantly adapting and evolving our strategy. We’re always examining what content works on what platform. Really, we’re just listening.
How do you keep them happy and cultivate that following?
Emily: We want to give back to consumers that make the effort to show they’re shopping with us. We want to have that two-way relationship. They give us some love and we give them some love back.
What technologies do you use on a daily basis and how to does Curalate fit into that workflow?
Emily: Curalate is No. 1. I’m not just saying that. It’s something we have used for quite a few years. We use it in multiple ways. It’s great for discovery — not only for content from people tagging Farfetch but also finding influencers we can use across campaigns. We use Like2Buy on Instagram to make our content shoppable. We also use Showroom for our Instagram Stories takeovers. For 2018, we’re looking at how to distribute that content across product listing pages and how to bring content to life so it’s not just a boring product shot.
With higher price points and longer sales cycles, social commerce is different in the luxury business. What metrics are you obsessing over?
Emily: It’s a lot easier to sell a dress on Instagram that costs 50 pounds compared to one that costs 1,000 pounds. So we need to work on emotive storytelling and really getting across the craft and the detail in that narrative. Luxury is a lot more invested, it’s not as impulsive.
From a KPI perspective, we had only been looking at traditional engagement with likes and followers. But now we’re looking at driving people to the site, and converting. One thing we can’t lose site of is that — at the end of the day — we’re a shop. We sell clothes. That’s how we exist, so we definitely need to turn those social followers into customers.
How do you know if an influencer is the right fit for Farfetch?
Arabella Brooks: We love to work with influencers that have their own creative perspective and vision that’s in line with ours. They have to be on-brand. It’s important that every piece of content really speaks to their audience and is authentic from start to finish. Beyond that, we look at engagement rate as a key measure of success. I think that’s becoming more important than following. Micro-influencers are a huge part of our Christmas campaign and business-as-usual influencer activity as well. They have amazing engagement rates.
How do you find those influencers?
Arabella: It’s a mixture of things. We use Curalate a lot. The Explore tab is super useful if we’re looking for an influencer in a specific location. We have boutiques all over the world. Sometimes we want influencers to go into those boutiques and host store tours on our Instagram Stories. So let’s say we find someone who’s really cool and on-brand in Dusseldorf. Curalate will help us uncover the best talent there, which otherwise is tough to do.
What does a successful influencer marketing program look like at Farfetch?
Arabella: It’s about taking a tiered approach. We want lots of content. We want it spread across many voices. We don’t want all of our eggs in one basket. We want to tap into lots of different creative people. We’re also breaking away from traditional blogger content, and want to harness the individuality of amazing, creative people — be that photographers or even dancers.
What’s the best way to approach an influencer?
Arabella: Go at it with a really collaborative outlook. I wouldn’t approach an influencer with a set-in-stone concept. Be prepared to work with them and develop the best content for you both. At the end of the day, they’re experts at what they do, so tapping into that is really important. That’s how you get that authentic content.
Curalate’s newest tool, Showroom not only makes images shoppable, but provides recommendations and related products too. What are your thoughts on the type of shopping experience Showroom provides for Farfetch customers?
Arabella: It’s a great transitional phase for customers. The end game is to get them on site and buying product. I think Showroom offers a really seamless transition from that inspirational image straight to the product. We can tag the image with the relevant products and it also pulls in additional pieces that are related. We have a huge range of products on site and Showroom really enables discovery of great products they’re going to love. It’s a really just a richer shopping experience.
We’ve seen increased time-on-site and better product discovery across all of those places. I love to use it in Instagram Stories with influencers. It offers an experience that makes more sense for that platform and provides something that’s a little unexpected. It’s a nice surprise for the person swiping up that they get to uncover a wealth of amazing product.
Why is user-generated content (UGC) so valuable to Farfetch?
Arabella: People trust their peers more than brands. We need to tap into this from a content perspective to ensure that it’s being perceived in the right way. Building community and giving back to our customers is something we’re constantly trying to do. The content they are creating is so amazing. They are tastemakers in their own right. Tapping into that is something every brand should be doing. We don’t want to tell people what to wear. It’s better if it’s a two-way conversation celebrating the individuality of each customer.
How do you find UGC?
Arabella: We use Curalate. The Explore tab is super useful. It gives us easy access to a large amount of content and makes it easy to uncover Farfetch fans that are creating great content. It’s a really valuable touchpoint for us. We can use it across our social channels, in email, anywhere.
Let’s talk about Fanreel. How beneficial is bringing UGC on site and making it shoppable?
Arabella: I think it’s really beneficial. We get so many amazing bits of content that it just makes sense to keep our site up-to-date and fresh. It just gives customers more inspiration. They can see something styled in a certain way that they might not have considered in the past. UGC opens your mind to new possibilities.
Do you curate the UGC on site?
Emily: We’re always ensuring that the content is the same quality that we would personally use in our feeds. We understand that everybody has their own aesthetic and eye. Within Curalate, we manage all UGC that hits the site and decide whether that lands on the content hub. All of that is controlled by us.
Any advice for smaller brands with tight budgets?
Emily: We definitely don’t have the biggest budgets here at Farfetch. So my advice to to be clever with your money. One thing that’s key of us is getting really high-quality content. Ensuring that the content is authentic to your brand, your feed and your aesthetic. I don’t think budget comes into it play. You can do a lot with a little. Work with true creatives and get the most out of that partnership and ensure that you’re really speaking to the audience.
How can brands source more earned content? How can they use that imagery to gain more followers and sell more products? Find out with our guide 35 Ways to Turn User-Generated Content into Real Revenue.
On average, our clients achieve: 79% increases in time-on-site, 16% jumps in average order value and 31% increases in conversion rate. What can Curalate do for your business? Contact us to find out.
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